First and foremost, we want to recognize this hard work. It takes a strong person to produce a successful event with volunteers, city requirements, law enforcement and vendors. Certainly event organizers don't need more to think about when it comes to the details. Thank you organizers and volunteers for considering the ways in which we can encourage the right message when it comes to alcohol.
During the past year, we have been working with event organizers who are open to implementing the 20 Best Practices. Many of the community events are working with us on steps they can implement at this time. Some are doing their own thing-which is just as good because the conversations have started. Change takes time.
Here are the 20 Best Practices based upon research:
Establish non-drinking areas for families and youth
Establish designated drinking areas where underage youth are not allowed; prohibit people from leaving these particular areas with alcoholic beverages.
Limit alcohol sponsorship
Have alcohol-free days/nights
Establish enforcement procedures for all policies
Require alcohol license holder to have liability insurance (check your state laws for specific legal requirements on liability)
Require responsible beverage service training for alcohol sellers and event coordinators
Require alcohol sellers to be at least 21 years old
Require a manager/event organizer to be on duty at the alcohol booth at all times
Establish age identification checking procedures
Prohibit drinking by servers
Require signs indicating the illegality of providing alcohol to minors and obviously intoxicated persons.
Establish procedures for handling intoxicated drinkers
Require that security staff be adequately trained
Ban alcohol consumption in parking lots and monitor the lots
Limit cup size to 12 ounces
Use cups for alcoholic beverages that are easily distinguishable from non-alcoholic beverage cups
Limit number of servings per person per purchase to one or two at a time
Stop serving alcohol at least one hour before closing
Event assessments were conducted last summer by anonymous volunteers in order to gain a sense what is going on at the events. The information collected was helpful in relating to event organizers, community leaders and concerned citizens. The good news is there are some events deliberately working at preventing underage drinking. There are other events with opportunities to improve.
Consider this: the resources devoted to educating youth, parents and community about the dangers of underage drinking. How about the costs of accidents, the health effects (depression, suicide, poor performance in school...), crime and other risky behaviors?
Think of the number of people who attend these events-what an audience for sending the right message about alcohol!
Final consideration- if community events have few alcohol restrictions, how effective is prevention?
In good health, Betsy